Cupertino Releases Detailed Plans of The “Mothership”

Affectionately dubbed “The Mothership” by Cupertino’s council, Apple’s planned headquarters gets their detailed drawings released to the public.

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[O Rly Of The Week] Britain’s Plan to Ban Social Networking Sites

Out Of Touch

The British Prime Minister is considering blocking the use of Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger in the wake of the UK riots. Since it is assumed that they are aiding vandalism and criminality.

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Neuroscience: Is Facebook Damaging To The Human Brain?

In a technology-driven world, can Facebook negatively affect Cognition?

British Neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, is one of many leading scientists who have suggested negative effects of social media to brain development.  However, she has caused some controversy by suggesting the rise in the use of internet and social media may be related to the rise in Autism.

I point to the increase in autism and I point to internet use. That’s all. Establishing a causal relationship is very hard but there are trends out there that we must think about.

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UK: MoD Discloses UFO Documents

Unidentified Flying Object over England

Thanks to the freedom of information act, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of the UK has released a new batch of UFO-related documents. These include drawings, interviews, eye witness reports, letters, and even parliamentary questions. However it’s not the first time they’ve done this.

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The Future: Ultra High Definition Display

NHK TV demonstrating the Super Hi Vision display

Ultra HDTV (also known as “Super Hi-Vision” or “Ultra HD”), is an experimental video format conceptualized by the Japanese public broadcasting network, NHK.

An Ultra HD is 4x wider and 4x higher than a normal HDTV screen, which in effect produces a spectacular 7,680 x 4,320 pixels (33,177,600 pixels in total). This is about 16x the pixel resolution than a standard HD screen. However, several health concerns have been raised for this.

In addition to the video quality, the sound quality has improved vastly. 24 channels of audio can be used with 24 speakers, producing a difference comparable to the Ultra HD video resolution. Currenly, only 3 cameras are able to capture video in Ultra HD format for about 20 minutes (4 Terrabytes worth) in a single day. However, it’s wise to remember that the current infrastructure is not designed to cope with Ultra HDTV requirements and in the coming years, many of these current challenges will be addressed.

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The Shepard Tone: Auditory Illusion

Sine Waves

This could possibly be written for iPsy, but I reckon it will feel at home here.

Audio is incredibly fascinating topic that covers maths, physics, music and cognitive/behavioural psychology. Upon watching a short BBC tech film at late midnight, I learnt about The Shepard Tone.

Named after Rodger Shepard, the Shepard tone is a sound consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves (an octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double its frequency). But what’s so special about the Shepard tone?

This superposition of sine waves separated by octaves creates an auditory illusion of a tone that perpetually ascends or descends, without it reaching a limit of it getting higher or lower.

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Antikythera mechanism: The first ever computer made.

Reconstruction of the Antikythera mechanism in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens (made by Robert J. Deroski, based on Derek J. de Solla Price model)

At the beginning of the 20th century, divers off the island of Antikythera came across this clocklike mechanism, which is thought to be at least 2,000 years old, in the wreckage of a cargo ship. The device was very thin and made of bronze. It was mounted in a wooden frame and had more than 2,000 characters inscribed all over it. Though nearly 95 percent of these have been deciphered by experts, there as not been a publication of the full text of the inscription.

Today it is believed that this instrument was a kind of mechanical analog computer used to calculate the movements of stars and planets in astronomy. It has been estimated that the antikythera mechanism was built around 87 B.C and was lost in 76 B.C. No one has any idea about why or how it came to be on that ill-fated cargo ship. The ship was Roman though the antikythera mechanism was developed in Greece.  One theory suggests that the reason it came to be on the Roman ship could be because the instrument was among the spoils of war garnered by then Roman emperor Julius Caesar.

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Snobbery amongst the PC community.

No caption needed.

The PC Snob’s stance is one of proprietary knowingness—the pleasure he takes in technology derives not only from the sensory experience of using them, but also from knowing more about it than you do, and from zealously guarding this knowledge from the cheesy, iPhone loving masses, who have no idea what a driver is, or how amazing it is to change their RAM. The PC Snob fairly revels, in fact, in the notion that Apple customers are stupid and ineducable, which is what sets him apart from the more benevolent computer buff, the effervescent, Tech Appreciative-style enthusiast who delights in introducing novitiates to the humble periods of Lisa and MS-DOS.

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